One of the perpetual pages on SinBin.vegas is our Golden Knights Prospect Rankings where we rank every under 23-year-old in the VGK system. The rankings should help to give fans a look at who is close to coming up to the NHL, who has a chance to make a true impact, and give a better sense of each guy in the prospect pool.
What our rankings do not do is compare the Golden Knights’ system to those around the NHL. For that, we need help from those who spend all of their time in focusing on the league’s up-and-comers. One of the best in the world at that is The Athletic’s Corey Pronman. He recently released a ranking of the top 170 hockey players under the age of 23.
The rankings are broken down into tiers including “Bubble elite NHL player,” “NHL All Star,” “Top-of-the-lineup player,” and a few more below it.
Here’s where things get scary for the Golden Knights. They do not have a single prospect listed in any of those three categories. In fact, Vegas’ first prospect is slotted at #69, and he’s the only player in Pronman’s top 100.
That player is Lukas Cormier, who is currently ranked #3 in the SinBin Rankings.
Cormier is just undersized and that will be his main challenge as a pro when it comes to defending. Due to his skating, I don’t think it will be that big an issue, though, and he projects as a top-four defenseman who can help a power play in a notable manner. –Pronman, The Athletic
Vegas’ next player does not appear in the rankings until #112, and their only other player is listed at #115. Those are Brendan Brisson and Ivan Morozov.
If it were evenly distributed, each team should have one in the top 32 (VGK have 0), two in the top 64 (VGK have 0), and three in the top 96 (VGK have 1).
However, what the Golden Knights do have that many of the teams with multiple players ranked in the top 100 is a playoff-caliber roster.
The VGK front office has not been bashful in sending out picks and prospects in a race to continue adding high-end pieces. It’s left the prospect cupboard pretty dry, which in turn puts a lot of pressure on the current roster to perform.
Due to the salary cap and the parity in today’s NHL, the league is somewhat cyclical. Teams go through periods in which they compete for the Stanley Cup, and then inevitably must experience some down years as they rebuild for the next run.
If the Golden Knights were in need of a rebuild right now, not having a single player in the top 50 of an under-23 ranking would be majorly concerning. Luckily, at the moment, they are seemingly still in a Cup window. The question is, when that rebuild does have to start, will Vegas be in a position to acquire a few of these types of guys to speed the process along?
It’s not something to worry about right now, but it is something that has to be considered in the near future.